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Helping Children Deal With Tragedy


Remember to keep it as simple as possible. Be honest and reassuring.

This week, we all held our collective breath, watching the news and scanning the Internet as reports flooded in about the Boston Marathon bombing. Such an emotional, stressful event naturally brings up past trauma, and so many of us were remembering 9/11 as we were bombarded with images that seemed eerily familier: smoke, injured and frightened people, a city street in broad daylight, and emergency personnel rushing in toward the unknown. When something this horrific happens, it’s difficult for people to cope with their feelings and the anxiety and fear that such an event might elicit. For children, these events are frightening in and of themselves, and then those feelings can be compounded by a sense of confusion and insecurity. Here are some tips for talking to your child(ren) after a tragic or traumatic event.

1. Keep it simple: Remember that while the Boston Marathon bombing may evoke memories of 9/11 or other tragedies for you, your child may be experiencing this type of event for the first time. Try to focus on the event at hand so that your conversation does not turn into a long discussion of multiple tragedies. Read More…

Rape Culture: Changing The Dialogue

We must change the dialog to change our culture.

We must change the dialog to change our culture.

Espousing a culture of inclusivity and respect is inherent in fostering opportunities for people to have meaningful dialog, effective interactions, and positive discourse. There is no change, either on a personal relationship level, or a societal one, without respect. It’s quite simple: who feels the need or pressure to adapt to new thinking or behaviors unless those requesting (or those who will benefit from) those changes are people we, at the very least, respect as human beings?

We talked about this concept recently with regard to the equality movement and the need for a changing dialog. The fight for equal human rights, however, is not the only area of societal life in which we need desperately to change the conversation. We must also change how we talk about rape.

America lives in a rape culture, whether we are comfortable admitting it and discussing it or not. Our media engages in the most abhorrent forms of “slut-shaming” narratives possible by constantly making comments about the victims’ behaviors, clothing, inebriation level, and past sexual history. They minimize rape by saying things like, “The victim suffered no serious injuries.” This is never, ever true. Rape itself is a serious injury. Whether the victim required emergency surgery and extensive, immediate medical attention for physical injuries certainly speaks to the level of violence involved in the rape, but make no mistake: Rape is a serious, traumatic injury, regardless of the level of physical violence involved in the attack. Read More…

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